Manitoba Parks is anticipating a rush of callers Monday morning as they stagger campground bookings for the summer.

Starting at 7 a.m. on Monday, Manitobans can book reservations for provincial campgrounds, including their cabins.

"This will be welcome news for many Manitobans and their families," Conservation and Climate Minister Sarah Guillemard says in a press release, thanking Manitobans for following public health advice. "It is through their dedication and actions that we are able to allow Manitobans to continue to visit our provincial parks, and we are pleased to open our campgrounds for the season with additional safety measures in place."

Instead of opening reservations for all campgrounds at once, Manitoba Parks is staggering the openings by park in three phases over the course of a week.

The reservation schedule is:

• April 5 at 7 a.m. – campsite reservations open for the Birds Hill Provincial Park campground;
• April 7 at 7 a.m. – campsite reservations open for the Winnipeg Beach, Betula Lake, Big Whiteshell, Brereton Lake, Caddy Lake, Falcon Beach, Falcon Lakeshore, Nutimik Lake, Opapiskaw, Otter Falls, West Hawk Lake and White Lake campgrounds; and
• April 12 at 7 a.m. – campsite reservations open for all remaining provincial park campgrounds.

Reservations can be made by calling 204-948-3333 (in Winnipeg) and 1 888-482-2267 (toll free) or going online.

"Customers are advised to check the website for call centre hours on other days, and those making online reservations should check to confirm their user IDs and passwords prior to April 1," the province says in a statement.

Parks Canada pushed back its reservation open date to April, which is usually in January, to accommodate for the changing pandemic.

In 2020 campground spots were in high demand, with many locals excitedly waiting on the phone or online for a chance at a staycation. 

" I encourage them to keep practising the fundamentals of good hygiene and social distancing at home and especially while enjoying quality time outside with their loved ones, whether camping, at cottages or throughout our beautiful parks,” Guillemard says.

“Our government thanks Manitobans for their commitment during the COVID-19 pandemic in acting on the advice of our health-care experts to stay home for the benefits of themselves, their loved ones and their communities."

Ontario opened its provincial park bookings and saw a jump in uptake from campers. Ontario Parks says they have seen a huge increase in reservations this year compared to last year.